Sick of undressing at airport security lines, cramming next to strangers during long, airless flights (where not even peanuts are free anymore?). Yes, you are. And so were two New Yorkers who, instead of boarding a flight to Los Angeles, decided to flag down a yellow cab and see if he'd take a trip cross-country with them.
John Belitsky and his buddy Dan Wuebben hailed Mohammed Alam's taxi Saturday night and asked if he'd take them to Los Angeles. The adventurous cabbie accepted, and the three of them set off immediately.
"He says, 'You go now?' I say, 'We go right now.' 'Are you sure? You okay?'" Wuebben said. "[We] went to his house, grabbed some clothes, met his [the taxi driver's] family."
The question, of course, is why. Why, when a non-stop flight from NYC to LA is $1,000 for two adults, take a $5,000 cab ride across country?
Belitsky is the son of a former New York city cabbie who said he'd never be able to pull off such a trip. So for him, the trip started out almost as a dare, a way to prove his father wrong. But he said the experience has been rewarding. "It was a great idea," Belitsky told Denver's KCNC-TV. "We've met a lot of fun people, seen a lot of interesting things. I proved my father wrong."
Wuebben's reason almost sounds like just wanted to test the TLC's claim that New York City cabs have to take you anywhere you want (a fact Mayor Bloomberg has recently tried to enforce). "You walk out of New York City, you hail a cab," he says in WHDH's video. "They're supposed to take you anywhere."
Alam, the driver, said it wasn't about the money (a metered fare for such a trip would actually be $17,000) but more an opportunity to see the country. "This is a long road, wide road," he told KCNC-TV. "There are no people. New York is too crowded, a lot of people, a lot of cars. There are no cars here, I think."
Wacky as the trip may be, it's not the first. In 2007 an elderly couple hopped into a cab in Queens and went all the way to Sedona, Arizona. But Betty and Bob Matas weren't looking for a joyride, they were moving. Using a yellow cab. The trip was 2,500 miles and cost $3,000, plus gas and meals.
The driver from that trip expressed a similar inclination to do something different, to break the frantic rhythm of New York commuting. "Manhattan is not easy," he told the Daily News. "Too much stop and go. My leg, after driving so much, it hurts. This job is not easy, and I want to do something different. I want to have some good memories."